The question persists. In both Jewish organizational and nonorganizational circles— Left, Right and Center, secularist and religious—there are tentative discussions, occasionally elated but mostly troubled: Has the traditional American Jewish commitment to liberalism been weakened in recent years? Are the Jews becoming more conservative as they grow more affluent? Or is it those Jews who are not affluent that become more conservative? And if such trends exist, what are we to make of them?
There has always been a small number of conservative Jewish intellectuals in America. A few write for the National Review; a few others, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, have been trying to work out a coherent conservative position. The influence of such people is small in general, smaller still within the Jewish world. Whatever conservatism there has been among American Jews has generally been indigenous and nonideological, rooted in sentiments of religious orthodoxy, and seldom requiring the ministrations of secular intellectuals. Similarly, there has been a Republican vote among American Jews, in the early years of this century a national majority, after the 1930s a decided minority. Whatever its social meaning, this vote has not seemed to require much intellectual justification....
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